Alaska Airlines Won’t Join oneworld Until Next Year

It will be a little longer until Alaska Airlines fully joins oneworld. The Seattle-based carrier confirmed this week that it will become a member of the airline alliance by the end of the first quarter of 2021.

Alaska Airlines, Mask Exceptions, Middle Seat
Passengers of Alaska Airlines will have to wait a little longer to receive the benefits of the carrier being a member of oneworld. Photo: Getty Images

Changing plans

In February, Alaska Airlines first made the surprise announcement that it would become a member of the alliance. Back then, the expectation was that the company would join from next summer.

However, the momentum was shifting over the last few months, and as recently as July, the carrier hoped that it would have membership by the time this year is over. Alaska Airlines CEO Brad Tilden shared that the global health crisis may have catalyzed his firm’s plans.

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Getty American Airlines oneworld
Being a member of oneworld is a proud achievement for airlines. Photo: Getty Images

Nonetheless, The Points Guy now reports that at the Cowen Global Transportation & Sustainable Mobility Conference on Wednesday, Alaska president Ben Minicucci said that the airline will join sometime in late Q1 2021.

The businessman said that one of the challenges the airline faces in joining is turning on all of the necessary technology connections with oneworld. Altogether, this step and other integration processes are taking longer than expected.

Alaska Airlines Aircraft
Alaska Airlines has a faithful following across the United States, especially along the West Coast. Photo: Getty

A helpful move

In July, oneworld CEO Rob Gurney shared his excitement about Alaska Airlines joining the alliance. He highlighted how the carrier’s presence across the Pacific Coast will be beneficial for passengers of other member operators.

“The joining of Alaska Airlines will add another high-quality carrier to oneworld, allowing us to offer even more destinations and options to the customers served by our member airlines,” Gurney said in an official statement.

“It strengthens oneworld’s presence across the key airports on the US West Coast and will build rapidly on the existing partnerships in place between Alaska Airlines and other oneworld members.”

Qatar Airways
Several oneworld members such as Qatar Airways have spoken of their excitement about Alaska Airlines joining the alliance. Photo: Getty Images

Worth the wait

Altogether, even though there is a delay, the process will still be complete before the original plan of summer 2021. So, had it not been for the change of expectations in the middle of this year, the current target could be viewed as an acceleration.

Once the transition is over, those in Alaska Airlines’ loyalty program can enjoy several benefits. For instance, they can earn and redeem miles across the 14 carriers that are part of oneworld.

Simple Flying reached out to Alaska Airlines for comment on its oneworld membership. The carrier confirmed that it will become a full member during the first quarter of 2021.

What are your thoughts about Alaska Airlines joining oneworld during the first quarter of next year? Do you think that this is a good move for the carrier? Let us know what you think in the comment section.